By: Gabrielle Cantor, Bicentennial Intern, Class of 2020, Intelligent Systems Engineering, Bloomington
The first time I created a time capsule was in 2nd grade. We included things that showed who we were at that point – a string showing how tall we were, a self-portrait drawn in art class, a list of our friends and favorite school lunches. We sealed all of our items in plastic bags and placed them into a shoebox, which our teacher placed into her closet.
Three years later, after we had all but forgotten about them, our teacher brought them down a few days prior to 5th grade graduation.
While it was funny to open them and see how short we were or how our friends had changed, our mini time capsules provided little insight into our 2nd grade lives. They allowed us to remember the mundane aspects, but nothing that we could look back on and reflect upon.
This past semester I have had the incredible opportunity to serve alongside three other interns on the time capsule intern team. Our work on this signature project is two-fold – we have been conducting research on other time capsules around the country and at IU, and we have taken the initial steps to create a bicentennial time capsule.
This time capsule will include submissions from students, faculty, staff, and alumni from all eight IU campuses, and will capture what IU was like in 2020 for those who open the capsule during the tricentennial celebration in 2120.
As a team, we have split up a lot of our research in order to accomplish as much as possible. Personally, I have spent the majority of the semester researching time capsules at IU. My research can be divided into two main categories – recent time capsules on each campus and the centennial time capsule.
Recent Time Capsules
Several of the IU campuses have time capsules, each of which commemorates various important moments in the history of that campus. In addition, several campuses have recently opened time capsules including IU Northwest, which in 2012 opened a time capsule which had been sealed during the opening of Tamarack Hall in 1958. The time capsule contained artifacts from the opening of the campus, including the 1958 class schedule, the city ordinance transferring the land to IU, and signatures of those who helped to make the campus possible.
IUPUI opened a time capsule in November 2015 that they found in the cornerstone of Wishard Hospital, one of the hospitals on the campus. The capsule contained items from the hospitals 1925 dedication ceremony, including a copy of the speech delivered at the ceremony and the birth certificate of an infant delivered at the hospital.
IU Southeast celebrated its 70th anniversary in 2012, and to mark the occasion created the first of many time capsules. The items inside the time capsule, which is set to be opened in 25 years, included items representing several of the student groups on campus. The campus has decided to make time capsules a part of their tradition–every five years they plan to create a new time capsule so as to allow every student to leave their mark on campus.
IPFW also buried a time capsule in November of 2015 as part of their 50th anniversary celebration. Set to be opened during the campus’s centennial celebration in 2064 and shaped like the celebration logo, the capsule includes over 100 items capturing what IPFW was like in 2015. The capsule includes everything from the student handbook to signed sports equipment and letters to future scholars.
On the Bloomington campus, several buildings contain time capsules that were placed in building cornerstones during their dedication ceremonies. William Lowe Bryan Hall, the Jacobs School of Music building, Wylie Hall, and the Frances Morgan Swain Student Building are just some of the buildings containing time capsules with various photographs, newspaper articles, and other relics from the early 1900s.
The most recent time capsule placed at IUB is located in the Hutton Honors College cornerstone, which was placed in one of the pillars of the building as part of a ceremony marking the start of construction on the current Hutton Honors College building in 2007. The time capsule contained a snapshot of the students and the college at the time.
For part two of this blog, please visit: https://blogs.iu.edu/bicentennialblogs/2017/05/02/time-capsule-discoveries-part-2/